Monday, March 25, 2013

Google Reader Waves Bye Bye

Google announced last week that they were going to be discontinuing their Google Reader in coming months. I use the reader daily to do research and monitor growing trends in marketing on the web so the news left me scrambling for an alternative.  I found Feedly, an RSS reader that interfaces well with Google Reader as it pulled in my many feeds and allowed me to categorize them easier than it had been in Google Reader. The interface is nice and fresh and customizable  too.

But some of the blogs I follow didn't look quite the same in the new reader and oversized pictures didn't load quite so fast. Whether it's a newsletter, website photo, or blog, it's important to resize photo's. Digital cameras take really big pictures by default---as big as 3600 px or larger----you could create a billboard with that many pixels.

Determining how many pixels you need to leave in your picture for maximum load speed without sacrificing quality can depend on several things. Generally  for a thumbnail sized photo you need to reduce your photo to 100 px or even 50 px. But the photo you're reducing needs to be clear and in focus to begin with. For an email or newsletter that contains more than a couple of graphics each picture should be limited to at the most 500 px with 250 px or less being optimum. Website or blog photos can look great, load great at around 500 px---no bigger than 900 px.

If you're loading onto a site like eBay that has no pixel maximum, you may have trouble loading pictures If you reduce the size to below 1000 px you'll have less problems. Etsy's maximum is under 1000px---and I've found that a good policy.

Then consider Facebook--- A cover picture needs to be 851px x 315px---which requires a lot of cropping in 1/2. Your profile picture though needs to be a square of 180x180px. Pictures posted to your timeline need to be 403px to properly fit one column and look nice when posted to your page.

And what to use to reduce your photos? One program that has the versatility to resize in batches is the open source Photoscape. This program is great for simple photo editing also. And it's currently free.


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